How to Avoid Chimney Repair Scams

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David W Spradlin

Subject: Chimney inspection & result

A little over a year ago we had our chimney rebuilt from the roof up with new liner and brick. We use a fireplace insert and do no not have a stainless steel liner. We just had a local company come out and and "inspect the chimney".
We were told we needed the chimney cleaned, a new stainless steel liner put in and a new insert. We know we do need a new insert as our is over 20 years old.
Here is the cost we were quoted:
New Insert $2,645.00
6 x 25 Liner Kit $918,72
Oversized Surround $75.00
Shipping $125.00
Sandblast $300.00
Rckleon? $200
Install of stove $700.00
Insert rebate $200.00
Total withut tax $4,763.72
Seems like a high price to pay as we can buy a ot of electricity for about $5000.00
We live near Cimcinnati Ohio
Thank you

Audrey Topol

Subject: Chimney liner

I had my chimney cleaned and they found pieces of ceramic pieces instead. Is that cause to rush into getting a new liner and can you give me a range on cost for that job to be done. I live in Long Island New York so that price on things are usually up there. I would love to hear if I am doing the right thing at a good price.

Hoping to hear from you
Thanks

Abby Dickson

Subject: chimney repair

How much should a firebox and chimney liner repair cost? My Dad was quoted $6,000 for 1 1/2 day of work. Sounds more like surgery not home repair!

Thanks for the reply.

Luc

Subject: Replace flue

Some chimney company's tell you that you need a liner if your flue has cracks because they are covering themselves against lawsuits. If they don't , some of these people will blame the company if they have a fire and your off to court.

Matt

Subject: Flu liner replacement cost

I had a chimney sweep come out to my house for an inspection, he told me that the parging had fallen off in the chimney and that I needed a stainless steel chimney liner installed. The price seemed extremely high. I want to know if I am right: Here is the breakdown.

fireplace liner $6,000-8,000. dollars
Smoke Chamber $1,790.00
Liner for fireplace insert $2,990.00
Insulation Wrap $500.00
Installation of insert $250.00
Permits $250.00

Am I crazy or is this incredibly expensive???
Any advice I could get would be most appreciated.

Josh H.

Subject:

I would advise all new homebuyers to hire a chimney inspector to properly inspect the chimney with a proper scope, etc. We had to pay an additional $300 on top of our regular home inspection fee but it turned out to be a great decision. The chimney inspector found major issues with the clay liner inside the chimney and the sellers had to replace the old liner with a new steel one to make the chimney safe. Our regular home inspector had his suspicions about the old chimney and suggested that we consult an expert so job well done by both...

Doug Ables

Subject:

As a sweep for 31 years I have found only 10 or so chimneys that need relining. According to industry standards and those pushed by some certification groups insist that minor cracks in chimney liners require relining. I have monitored minor cracks in several chimneys over the years and notice they have posed no problem nor have they grown. Even some "certified" sweeps anxious to follow certification guidelines seem to put politics above common sense, sometimes because it puts money in their pockets but tarnishes the reputation of sweeps in general. One exception is that fireplace inserts need to be relined no matter what type of original chimney is used.

linda d. brink

Subject:

please refer me to a affordable and honest chimney sweeep/stone repair.

Susan Miller

Subject:

We used Chimneymasters in San Antonio, TX to inspect our chimney and put a chimney cap on it after buying our home. The fireplace box needed repaired as well. Did a fantastic job for under 300.00

Dee

Subject:

This is a good article for everyone, I was also told I needed a liner in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.Cost $1500. I called a relative who is an architect and he laughed and said "so,they are still pulling that old scam".When I said no to the liner the tech wanted me to sign his work order stating I had be warned about carbon monoxide.

deorah

Subject:

I had a contractor tell me I need a liner, hard to know if it is true or not.You feel vulnerable when you are a single parent.

Home Saver Chimney Sweeps

Subject:

Always insist on using a Certified Sweep. Always ask for referrals, proof of insurance and if the price for the service is ridiculously low or sounds too good to be true....you’re probably talking to a scammer.

Allan

Subject:

Agree with Peter about homebuyer concerns. When we purchased a house a few years ago, the inspector noticed that the chimneys had some wood casings in them. They obviously had not been used in some time and if we had lit them up, we would have been totally lit up.

Peter

Subject:

I would add that homebuyers should insist that the prepurchase home inspection include chimneys and fireplaces. Our "inspector" missed a large fissure in our chimney when we were buying from out of state. When we settled on the purchase, our insurance agent required us to have the chimneys cleaned and our service company noted the crack. It cost $5K to repair, an expense we would have taken into account in negotiating the purchase price.

Richard Baumer

Subject:

What i need help with is learning how to tell if my chimney needs tuckpointing.

Daniel Mundschau

Subject: Knowing if you need tuckpointing

In this day and age they should have pictures to show you, even if it's on a phone. Your chimney should be tuckpointed if there is cracks in the mortar, or the mortar is solid yet rubbing it gets sand. That shows the portland is breaking down and sealing it with tuckpointing can prevent a more costly rebuild in the future. It's ALWAYS a good idea to have the chimney waterproofed with saver systems chim-saver.

Tuckpointing will NOT: repair damaged brick nor add strength, so if there is holes in the mortar going through the chimney, this is a rebuild, not a tuckpoint, and any company that says they can tuckpoint is lying to get easy work. Tuckpointing will not fix the cause of the reason you need tuckpointing if your chimney is less than 40 years old, so just expect to have to do it again if you're in the home a long time.

Tuckpointing is simply removing the surface mortar and refurbishing it with new mortar to reduce water penetration. Best to hire someone who goes old school hawk and trowel. A lot of guys are using mortar bags, but your PSI is greatly reduced and density (what keeps water out) is almost nothing with the bag method. It's hot in the industry simply because you can train a guy to do bag method in 5 min but hawk and trowel takes practice and skill.

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The cost will be determined by the type and length and the connection made to the gas furnace. Type of liner is based on the acidic moisture output and the appliance afue rating. Highly efficient appliances will need a stainless alloy liner like AL29-4c which can cost retail $65/ft plus components for connection (another $150) plus labor $70/hr and taxes for 6 inch round. ($58/ft for 5" rd)

Less efficient systems (below 83% afue rating) can utilize aluminum vent pipe that comes as a kit for about $325, plus labor $70/hr. Basic installations can take 3-4 hours.

B-vent connections are commonly used with gas venting infront of connection to the vent or liner.

Most masonry chimneys cannot take the excessive moisture produced from todays high efficient gas systems and are often vented with pvc, by-passing the masonry chimney and exiting outside the foundation. If that is not possible then inserting either a AL49-c stainless or aluminum liner down the terra-cotta flue of the chimney designated for the furnace in order to make a connection at the appliance in the basement or crawl space.

Every system has its own challenges and set backs so average costs can change with install complexity and length of vent.

For further info contact me at Davelamm@classicchimney.com or call 919-782-2879

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Most all professional chimney sweeps now utilize the National Fire Protection  211 Standard for chimneys, fireplaces , Vents and solid fuel-burning appliances for chimney inspections, which determines when and whether he has to access the roof.

There are 3 levels of inspection  The most commonly performed are Level 1 and level 2  are listed:

Level 1            Done as Annual Inspection

                      Routine cleaning of the flue

                      Direct replacement of a similar appliance

Level 1 inspection is recommended for a chimney under continued service under the same conditions with the continued use of the same appliance.

IN A Level 1 inspection, your chimney service tech should examine the *READILY ACCESSIBLE portions of the appliance and the chimney connection. HE will be looking for basic Soundness of the chimney structure and flue as well as the basic appliance installations and connections. HE will also Verify that  the chimney is free of obstruction and combustible deposits.

* Readily accessible Means that no special equipment is required to gain such access, ie.Ladder

 

LEVEL 2            Upon sale or transfer of a property

                       After an operating malfunction or an external event is likely to have caused damage to the chimney

                        Addition or removal of one or more connected appliances, or the replacement of an appliance withone of a different type, a different input rting or a different efficiency.

                        Prior to relining or replacement of the flue lining

 

Level 2 insp. are required when any changes are made to the system. Changes can include a change of Fuel Type, changes in shape or material in the flue,Replacement or addition of an appliance of a disimilar type, input rating or efficiency. Building fires, chimney fire or other seismic events as well as weather events or obvious construction defects would be indicators that a level 2 is warranted.

 

Level 2 includes everything in a level 1 PLUS the *Accessible portions of the chimney exterior and interior including attic, crawl spaces and basements. it addresses proper clearances from combustible in accessible locations.There are no speciality tools required to open or access doors, panels, or coverings during a level 2 insp.  The level 2  insp should also include the visual inspection by video scanning equipment or by other means in order to examine the internaql surfaces and joints of all the flue liners inside the chimney structure. No removal or demolition or any permrnantely attached portions of the chimney or building structure or finish shall be required in a level 2 insp.

*ACCESSIBLE means if you can get to it with special equipment do it but you dont have to take apart anything for said access. Use of ladders and cameras just no demolition.

 

LEVEL 3  SEE NFPA 211 STANDARD FOR DETAILS

 

***THE REAL ANSWER to this question lies with the accessibility of the top of the chimney and roof type.  Most professional sweeps want to examine up close the top of the chimney for cracked masonry crowns , which is very common, Flashing issues, top view down flue, and for prefab chimneys to insp the condition of the Chase cover and cap.

Note that the use of a special tool (ladder) to gain access to the chimney is under a level 2 inspection, which can be additional costs since it is a much more thorough inspection.

It is possible to sweep and do a level 1 insp. without accessing the roof. 

 

Also most professional sweeps have equipment that allows us to sweep the chimney with a rotary system that is operated from inside at the fireplace opening and achieve a much better cleaning than pushing brushes down from the top and without getting on the roof. We also video scan the flue from the hearth so the homeowner can be a part of that inspection or "chimney-oscopy". They see the live action of the top of the chimney and conditions that exist inside their system so when they get their report they know they are not some stock pics that could be used to sell repairs but the actual pics of the conditions they viewed in their system. And we do not have to access the roof.

If the chimney access requires multiple ladders or is a "brush with death", there could be extra cost, and the sweep would make an onsite decision regarding the ability to safely reach the top of the chimney or have to use a lesser option of binoculars or rely on experience to determine whats going on up top based on visible symptoms,  if access is too dangerous or not possible.

 

So don't discount a sweeps knowledge or ability on whether he gets on the roof or not. Check him out on referral sites , company web site, credentials, training and experience. Get referals and check on liability insurance and you should be able to find a sweep that can meet your need. If you are in North Carolina check us out at ClassicChimney.com. For the last 25 years we have been sweeping and inspecting chimneys, certified formerly by the CSIA for 15 years and current member of the NC Guild. give us a call  9197822879

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